I have been at the forefront of the citizen movement to reexamine the end of life since my parents’ hospitalized demises in 2004 and 2005. My first book, Notes from the Waiting Room: Managing a Loved One’s End-of-Life Hospitalization, was a 2009 Colorado Book Award finalist. The followup, The Promised Landing: A Gateway to Peaceful Dying (2018) completes a lexicon that clarifies why we let ourselves be lured onto the “medical conveyor belt”, identifying obstacles to peaceful dying that we can learn to recognize and mitigate, to increase our chances of experiencing the peaceful deaths we want—and, as importantly, avoiding the deaths we say we do not want to experience. In addition to the books, manifestations of this work include a TEDxFoCo talk To Die in Peace: New Terms of Engagement, a performance piece the Never Say Die Rap, and Windrum's Matrix of Dying Terms aka Our Dying Territory, a paradigm changing array. At the risk of over-crowing, my work has been called “brilliant and original” (Katly Butler), “deeply illuminating” (Rabbi Zalman Schacter-Shalomi), “warm and smart” (Victoria Sweet), and a “significant enhancement” (Jennifer Ballentine) to our communal end-of-life conversation by medical professionals, spiritual leaders, and fellow end-of-life authors/teachers. It's been a long haul to arrive at this place, a place where the ends meet and I have what feels like, and I assess as, a complete and whole thing to offer. It's needed, for even "death positive" people doing deep work may, I'm afraid, continue manifesting death denial by avoided a straight, brave look into the makings of the milieu we live in. Medicine's lure, which generally works well through most of life, tends to break down, harshly, near and at the end of life. We're part of the system, both cause and effect. By identifying, examining, and understanding the nature of the lures, within and without us, we can put into place a vital missing piece of how we view and approach the end of life.
OK, I'm nominating myself. For a body of work, my end-of-life lexicon. It began with Notes from the Waiting Room: Managing a Loved One's End-of-Life Hospitalization (2008) and completed with The Promised Landing: A Gateway to Peaceful Dying (2018), with Windrum's Matrix of Dying Terms, aka Our Dying Territory. This year the secret is leaking out! — Bart
I’m a Patient Leader